Hamilton hopes to pull away in Austria

Lewis Hamilton leads the French Grand Prix

A scathing Hamilton had already accused his team of costing him victory after - not for the first time this season - they failed to react to a Virtual Safety Car period, caused by Valtteri Bottas' retirement in the sister Mercedes, and stop him for new tyres.

With Bottas' vehicle sat on the outside of turn four a Virtual Safety auto was released to clear it up - and presented an opportunity for teams to pit drivers and lose less time than during normal race laps.

While both Red Bulls and Ferraris went to their boxes to have their tires changed, Mercedes surprisingly let Hamilton driving on. And when he completed his unavoidable pit stop 10 laps later, he returned only in fourth place — on a track with limited possibilities for overtaking.

The bad luck wasn't over yet though.

Although he lacks the killer-instinct of both men in those pressurised situations - often the tipping point between winning and losing - he is clearly one of the most talented drivers on the circuit.

The world title battle may be a two way duel between Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, but Valtteri Bottas could have been in the thick of it only for bad luck. He did not pit while those immediately behind him did.

In Austria, apparently distracted by Bottas stopping on track following a lack of hydraulic pressure, they took their eye off the ball, and when the VSC was deployed to slow down the pack, Hamilton, unlike all of his rivals, did not stop for fresh rubber.

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Mercedes' chief strategist will keep his job after a serious blunder during the Austrian grand prix.

Wolff also praised Hamilton for his positive attitude in the post-race debrief, in which Mercedes staff members back in the United Kingdom also participated.

Team manager Toto Wolff reflected on a dismal afternoon: "It's a tremendously painful day for us, for me, personally, the most painful in six years".

There was a VSC in action, racing was back on lap 16. "It was damage limitation but the pace was very good and the tire management was very good".

Two weeks later in Azerbaijan, he led again after a safety auto, but with three laps remaining sustained a puncture from running over debris and lost what looked like a guaranteed 25 points - and first victory of the season. "In doing so, the rear tyres blistered, he lost position to Sebastian, then we made a decision to pit again as there was nothing to lose from doing so - but, shortly after, a loss of fuel pressure forced him to retire".

Sebastian Vettel made a mistake on his first Q3 attempt but jumped from seventh to third on his final run ahead of teammate Kimi Raikkonen. We will pick ourselves up in the next days, learn from our errors and go to Silverstone with our heads held high.

"It's been a really tough weekend and a tough day for our team, but we have to stay strong for each other and regroup and try to come back stronger next week".

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